Pascal Ackermann beats classy sprint field to win stage one of the UAE Tour 2020

The German proved stronger than Caleb Ewan and Dylan Groenewegen to take victory in Dubai

Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) won a hectic sprint finish to take the opening stage victory of the 2020 UAE Tour.

Mitchelton-Scott ended up leading the bunch onto the finishing straight, trying to set things up for Luka Mezgec. Ackermann and Caleb Ewan then came through, with the German proving to have too much for the Lotto-Soudal sprinter, with the Australian finishing second.

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Israel Start-Up Nation’s Rudy Barbier took third, beating Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) into fourth after he opened up his sprint too late.

Fernando Gaviria and Sam Bennett were caught out of position as Mitchelton-Scott hit the front and the Colombian was squeezed out by Bennett’s lead-out man Michael Mørkøv, effectively derailing both sprinters’ chances of the stage win.

Speaking after the finish, Ackermann said: “All of the big names are here, I wasn’t sure if my form was good enough but it proved to be. It was a really hectic and nervous finish, so I went my own way and was jumping from one guy to the next and then eventually said let’s go.”

How it happened

Stage one was a relatively flat offering starting from The Pointe and finishing at the Silicon Oasis.

Four riders from two teams made up the day’s breakaway, with Nikolay Cherkasov and Cristian Scarponi (both Gazprom-Rusvelo), as well as Leonardo Tortomasi and Veljko Stojnić (Vini Zabù – KTM), being allowed up the road by the peloton

They were given a gap of around 2-30 with 50km to go, as Tony Martin did a lot of work on behalf of Jumbo-Visma in the peloton. Stojnić then won the intermediate sprint with 100km remaining.

60km later, Stojnić’s team-mate Tortomasi won the second intermediate sprint, the pair gaining themselves both points and time bonuses to give them top 10 GC placings at the end of the day.

Scarponi gave up on the breakaway with 30km remaining, with the other three still leading the peloton by a minute. Stojnić was the next to be caught by the peloton 3km later, with the last two riders caught with 15km to go.

As wind began to buffet the peloton with 13km to the finish, Deceuninck – Quick-Step came to the front as they looked to protect their sprinter Sam Bennett. Mark Cavendish was also well placed at the top of the bunch as they sped under the 10km banner back towards the city.

The sprint trains spread across the road, with Martin once again showing his strength as he did all the pulling for Jumbo-Visma before Lotto-Soudal hit the front with 7km to go.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step then took up the reins once more, although Bennett found himself a bit further back and separated from his team-mates who were driving the pace. Bahrain-McLaren repositioned Cavendish at the front of the action again with 3km to go, before Groupama-FDJ displayed a full lead-out train on the run-in into the finish.

Under the flamme rouge and Deceuninck – Quick-Step showed their class as their train assembled itself at the front, with things looking perfect for Sam Bennett.

However, as Mitchelton-Scott hit the front for Luka Mezgec and Pascal Ackermann launched from behind, Fernando Gaviria was squeezed out by Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Michael Mørkøv, derailing both the Colombian and Bennett as the sprint unfolded up ahead.

Ackermann’s jump was followed by Caleb Ewan, but the Australian couldn’t seem to match the Australian’s power today, with Rudy Barbier then finishing third on the line followed by Dylan Groenewegen.

Results

UAE Tour 2020, stage one: The Pointe to Dubai Silicon Oasis (148.6km)

1. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 3-29-09
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto-Soudal
3. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation
4. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
5. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
6. Alberto Dainese (Ita) Sunweb
7. Jakub Mareczko (Ita) CCC
8. Max Walscheid (Ger) NTT
9. José Rojas (Esp) Movistar
10. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale, all at same time

General classification after stage one

1. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 3-29-09
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto-Soudal, at four seconds
3. Veljko Stojnić (Srb) Vini Zabù – KTM, at 5s
4. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation, at 6s
5. Leonardo Tortomasi (Ita) Vini Zabù – KTM, at same time
6. Nikolay Cherkasov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo, at 7s
7. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at 10s
8. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
9. Alberto Dainese (Ita) Sunweb
10. Jakub Mareczko (Ita) CCC, all at same time